#Orlando; #US; #Cociane; #GIIIJet; #ICE; #HSI
Orlando (US), Aug 1 (Canadian-Media): 2,107 kilograms of cocaine and a Gulfstream III (GIII) jet were seized on July 26 by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) for violating foreign law concerning narcotics by the Government of Guatemala after a collateral request by HSI Orlando and as part of the HSI HOMECORT National Aviation Trafficking Initiative, ICE & HSI reported.
Image credit: Twitter handle
HSI Orlando began monitoring the aircraft since April 2019 after receiving the information in March 2019 that the GIII would likely be sold and then used to transport illegal drugs.
“By using a variety of investigative techniques and leveraging strong partnerships, the coordination efforts during this investigation cannot be understated,” said HSI Orlando Assistant Special Agent in Charge David J. Pezzutti. “Targeting transnational criminal organizations, such as narcotics traffickers, has been a collective, team effort by several agencies and units which culminated in this substantial cocaine seizure.”
The aircraft was sold, and was taken to Mexico for numerous maintenance flights.
After HSI Orlando was notified on July 25, 2020 that the GIII was en route to the Yucatán Peninsula on a field flight plan, HSI Guatemala and the Joint Interagency Task Force - South (JIATF-S) were contacted to coordinate and prepare ground monitoring efforts to intercept the narcotics-laden aircraft.
The aircraft flew into Venezuela and ended in Guatemalan territory where it was interdicted by the Guatemalan military.
Although the narco-traffickers attempted to bury the cocaine, HSI Guatemala’s Transnational Criminal Investigative Unit participated in seizure, processing the evidence with Ministerio Publico, targeting Guatemalan coordinators via the cocaine air bridge.
Evidence samples would be requested by HSI Guatemala to facilitate future indictments in this ongoing case in the United States.
This joint HSI-led investigation is being supported by Joint Task Force-Investigations HOMECORT, JIATF-S Tactical Analysis Team Guatemala, Federal Aviation Administration, the National Targeting Center-Investigations and U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Air Marine Operations Center.